Gen Z takes church outside its walls
Gen Z takes church outside its walls
Hannah Harrison
Hannah Harrison
AFA Journal staff writer

Above right, Nick Hall

August 2020When it comes to understanding generational differences, one of the hardest to grasp is Generation Z. Those in the Gen Z category were born between 1997 and 2012. And often, the young adults in the group are categorized by false stereotypes such as “lazy” or “entitled.” In fact, that could not be further from the truth.

“In my experience, young people will rally around a vision they believe in,” said evangelist and Pulse founder, Nick Hall. “They want to invest their lives in something that matters – not just a good job, a nice house, or 401(k). If we feel the next generation is lazy or not driven, then we should start by asking what kind of vision we’ve given them.”

During their short years on earth, Generation Z has witnessed a changing socioeconomic climate, technological advancement, and an evolving form of instant communication through social media. But those things do not define this generation. Instead, they are pushing them to change the world for Christ.

Embodied ethic of Jesus
“Gen Z grew up in the Great Recession and now COVID-19,” remarked Hall. “When the world around you is shaken, you learn not to put your trust in financial security. I believe that is why this generation has an easier time letting go of possessions.”

Rather than investing their time in materialistic possessions, Gen Z is proving to be more generous and kind. Hall looks to these students as a “revival generation.” Through them, he believes the country could see a spiritual awakening.

A significant tension between Gen Z and their elders is that they have moved away from traditional church services. Instead of just living within the church walls, Gen Z utilizes creative avenues to meet the lost through events such as concerts, prayer gatherings, speaking engagements, and personal encounters.

“These generations often walk away from the church because they see a disconnect between what the church says we believe and how we live that out,” Hall said. “They see problems in the church, and they want to be part of the solution. They are coming back to the power of unity and an embodied ethic of Jesus.”

Engaged, enabled to witness
Hall’s ministry, Pulse, helps teach and train college students by engaging and enabling them to fulfill the Great Commission through digital media and other resources. Hall says that sometimes these generations get accused of “slacktivism” – for signing a petition or using a hashtag.

“I am not against using social media, but at some point, we also have to step out from behind our screens and look at another person in the face, because change happens through relationship,” he explained.

Hall wants these students to have an intimate relationship with the Lord while caring for others.

“We have to start by being in right relationship with God,” said Hall. “Jesus told us the most important commandments are to love God and love our neighbor.

“As we spend time in His Word, our hearts will be challenged and stirred to love our neighbor. From there, we benefit immensely from the creativity the next generation offers us.”   

Pulse of a generation
Pulse is a next-generation movement focused on evangelism and discipleship. Since its beginning in 2006, Pulse has shared the hope of Jesus with 4,370,000 individuals and has recorded 638,000 responses to the gospel message. The ministry’s mission is to “make Jesus known and raise disciples who multiply.”

Because Generation Z has grown up in a technology-based world, Pulse seeks to utilize this and help the generation share the gospel through digital content. For digital tools and information on upcoming projects and campaigns, see